History of the David Cummings & George Cummings Trophy
Written by Arthur Smith …
David Cummings was born in Bridge if Weir in 1894 and shortly after, his family moved to Kilbarchan, where he stayed in New Street and attended the local primary School. He was always keen on running and joined Paisley Harriers. He later joined Glenpark Harriers and Maryhill Harriers.
David won representative honours for Scotland at Cross Country and was also a Great Britain International. and in 1924 was selected for Great Britain to compete at the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris, in the Steeplechase, where he won a team Bronze medal. It is also recorded that he competed in the 1920 Amsterdam Olympic Games, in the 10000m.
Also in 1924, David was involved in the formation of Kilbarchan Amateur Athletic Club. After the 2nd World War, the club disbanded in 1955, was resurrected briefly from 1963 to 65 and when some local residents got together to reform the club in 1974, David was again involved and was elected Honorary President, a position he retained until he died in 1986, in his 92nd year.
David presented the Club with the David Cummings Trophy and also the George Cummings Trophy in memory of his brother who died in the first World War. George was also a Scottish International Cross Country runner.
With David’s approval, the Club decided to use the David Cummings Trophy for annual competition and it was agreed that the event should be a 7mile handicap chase, to be run in the Spring, around the hilly figure of eight course which is still in use.
This was all decided in 1977 and in fact the first running of the race took place in September in order that the Trophy could be formally presented at the Club’s AGM and Award Presentations later in the month. The original proposal was to start and finish at the Park fountain but in fact s&f was at the Park Gate directly up from the Fountain.
Starting at the Park gate, the trail went down New St, over the Cross, down Church St, turning right, up the Dampton Brae, to the Crossroads which was about 1.8miles. Continuing along the twisting, undulating road to Clochoderick Stone (2.6ml), turning left and left again toward Howwood, left again up Crossflats hill (lone tree on the right marks the halfway point), back up to the Crossroads at just over 4 miles, across and continuing up past Meikle Burntshields Farm, down the Big Dipper and up to Lawmarnock Farm with just under 2 miles to go. Turning right and down the Law Brae, past the Gas Station with just over a mile to go, turning right into Shuttle Street, down to the Cross and sharp left back up New St to the Finish at the last post at the Park gate.
11 runners took part in that first race on 21st September 1977 with 17 year old Alan Holmes who stayed in Kilbarchan, the first winner.
1 Alan Holmes 50.43/45.13;
2 Hugh Ross 51.00/46.00;
3 John Rodger 51.08/44.08,
4 Len Taylor 51.09/47.39
5 Arthur Smith 51.46/43.16,
6 Norman Howitt 52.26/52.26,
7 Jimmy Gibson 52.39/50.09,
8 Gerry Fairley 52.49/39.49
9 Myles Rafferty 52.54/46.54;
10 Robert Barr 54.16/53.16,
11 Jim Harkins 55.02/41.32.
The race has been run every year since and in the 31 years so far, around 150 runners have taken on the challenge of this arduous circuit. In these 31 years, Robert Barr has won twice, in 1979 and 1996. Dougie Biggart has now won it 3 times in 2003, 2004 and 2013. Robert has also the distinction of the most number of appearances, no fewer than 29 times, only missing 2000 and 2003. Arthur Smith has run 20 times (won 89), Jimmy Gibson (won 92) and Sandy Ross (won 83), both 16 times. For the Ladies, Margaret Moore has taken part 8 times (won 90). Only 6 ladies have won the Trophy, the last, Siobhan Inglis in 2012.
SENIOR MEN Robert Quinn 35.10 1988
U20 Robert Hawkins 37.56 1982
o40 Gerry Fairley 37.06 1996
o50 Jim McMillan 42.25 1996
o60 Jim McMillan 46.37 2004
SENIOR WOMEN Eileen Masson 42.19 1991
U20 Susan Crawford 44.28 1982
o35 Eileen Masson 47.27 1996
o45 Jane Murray 52.11 1994
o55 Margaret Moore 54.05 1991